Sounds of Travel: Eddie From Ohio

Here at Gadling we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite sounds from the road and giving you a sample of each — maybe you’ll find the same inspiration that we did, but at the very least, hopefully you’ll think that they’re good songs. Got a favorite of your own? Leave it in the comments and we’ll post it at the end of the series.

Folk musicians are very different from pop stars. They earn their living one gig at a time, and are always on tour somewhere, because if they weren’t, they wouldn’t make any money. They write their own music, and they often draw from their vast experiences on the road, which is why folk music makes great travel tunes.

Eddie From Ohio‘s 2001 release, Quick, is among the best of the best. Just so we’re clear, Eddie isn’t a solo artist — but it is the name of the drummer in this band, not from Ohio but from the commonwealth of Virginia. Got it? EFO has been touring America since 1991, and Quick includes a great collection of travel-inspired tracks.

The tone of this album makes it perfect for the first CD of your road trip. The high energy title track will get you grooving behind the wheel before you’re out of your driveway, and put you in the right frame of mind for an adventure.


A fan favorite from this album is “Candido & America,” the story of a Mexican couple coming to the US to make a new life. It’s a hopeful song about starting over in a new place, and finding beauty where you are. This is one of those songs that entire audiences sing along to at Eddie From Ohio’s live shows.

Another highlight from Quick is “Number Six Driver.” Guitarist Robbie Schaefer wrote this song about the band’s trip back home to Virginia from a west coast tour. They’d been gone for a long time and wanted to power their way home, and Robbie got stuck with the night shift behind the wheel of the band’s RV. Somewhere in Wyoming before the light of dawn, he passed a gas station that offered “Free coffee for the #6 driver.” That is, the sixth driver to stop in during the night. I believe the story goes that travel weary Robbie was lucky driver number six, and from one of his most boring nights, a beautiful song was born, with a little help from a free cup of coffee. Listen to EFO perform the song at the 2003 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (I was in that audience!) in the video above.

There are lots of great travel tunes on EFO’s other CD’s as well. I love “30 Second Love Affair,” about the fantasy one driver creates about another driver while stopped next to her at a traffic light, “Fifth of July,” another track about new adventures and starting fresh, and “From Dacca,” a sweet song about culture shock and adjusting. Then there’s every Edhead’s favorite, “Old Dominion,” bassist Michael Clem’s tribute to the band’s home state. It’ll make you wish you lived here, too.

Click here for previous Sounds of Travel.

Sounds of Travel 13: Ce Matin La

Here at Gadling we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite sounds from the road and giving you a sample of each — maybe you’ll find the same inspiration that we did, but at the very least, hopefully you’ll think that they’re good songs. Got a favorite of your own? Leave it in the comments and we’ll post it at the end of the series.

For me, traveling music has to provide a good background. It has to to flow with your up and down emotions, fit a variety of situations, but be distinct enough that it brings back memories when you return home. For that reason, in my last post I wrote about St. Germain, which is one of my favorite artists to listen to while traveling. Along those same lines comes Air, another electronica-inspired group that hails from France.

As I wrote about St. Germain, music like this immediately takes me back to living in France; I can envision the first time and place that I listened to either of these two groups. But Air is a little more than that, the duo’s second album Moon Safari has become my traveling soundtrack — no matter what the destination — and my song of choice is Ce Matin La.


Some people tend to veer away from songs without lyrics, but for me, that makes them better travel songs; Ce Matin La is smooth and cheerful, and without lyrics, it gives a good background but doesn’t distract you from your surroundings. I’ve listened to it while waiting for the train in Vietnam, I’ve listened to it while crossing Sweden by bus, and I’ve listened to it on road trips all along the West Coast. Somehow Ce Matin La manages to seamlessly blend into all of those situations, making me reminiscent more of the feelings that go along with travel rather than a specific place. Unlike other songs that remind me of a particular experience, Ce Matin La is therefore simply my travel song. It embodies being on the road and passing through new places and the emotions that go along with that.

Another reason that Ce Matin La invokes traveling for me is the name. First, it’s in French, and anything in my third language speaks to me on a slightly more exotic level. Second, translated it means “that morning.” Who knows what morning Air is referencing, but when you listen to the song you can easily feel yourself sitting and drinking a cup of coffee in some other country with the whole day ahead of you, ready to be discovered. With light tones and a smile-invoking melody you are immediately transported into travel mode, which is exactly what one needs in these gray winter months!

You can check out previous Sounds of Travel posts here.

Sounds of Travel 12: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

Here at Gadling we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite sounds from the road and giving you a sample of each — maybe you’ll find the same inspiration that we did, but at the very least, hopefully you’ll think that they’re good songs.

Got a favorite of your own? Leave it in the Comments and we’ll post it at the end of the series.

“King of the Road,” my first Sounds of Travel pick, evokes the spirit of independence. It’s an ode to the traveler who strikes out alone without a care in the world.

“500 Miles” by the Proclaimers, however, is a tribute to traveling with another. In my case, this travel often has been on foot– literally.

My husband is a walker. He has great big feet–size 14. When I met him when we lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, one of the first things I noticed is his need to walk. He has a way of striking out into the world in great big strides wearing boots that could double as door stops. Not long after I met him, I was hoofing it to keep up.

One of our first forays into mega walk travel was on a camping trip into the Gila Wilderness in southern New Mexico.

“How far are we going, exactly?” I wanted to know when he suggested such a venture. It’s not the walking I mind– it’s the carrying stuff. “It won’t be that far,” he said. “By the way, there are a couple places we’ll have to cross a stream.”

“Okay, sure,” I said, not mentioning my phobia about wading through water–or rather, I did have a phobia about wading through water. After crossing the stream at least 14 times, I was cured.

That walk was just the beginning.

“How about a trek in Nepal?” he suggested as our first Christmas vacation while we were living in Singapore. “We’ll hire porters to carry our stuff.”

That trip took us from Jomsom to Pokhara. Two other couples went with us. It’s not the going up a mountain that hurts all that much if you go slowly. It’s the going down that is hell on knees.

Then it was the 9-day trek in Ladakh, India through the Markha Valley.

“There are pack-mules AND porters to carry stuff,” my husband said to entice me. The only time I whined a bit was when I noticed how dry my skin was becoming in the thin mountain air. “I don’t know if my skin can take much more of this,” I said, thinking that in another week I’d look one hundred.

“Why don’t you ask the women here what they do?” my husband said, casting his gaze towards a group of women in the distance who were wrestling with rubble and dirt while hoeing a field. He’s sympathetic that way.

Still, whenever he slips on those massive Red Wing boots of his to head out the door, calling for me to come with him, I know it will be an adventure–one that I wouldn’t be taking if I wasn’t willing to share the road.

The first time we heard “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” we were on a date seeing the movie “Bennie and Joon.” The song was the movie’s theme song and Johnny Depp was one of the stars.

When we got married, three weeks before we moved to Singapore, this song was the recessional at our wedding. For a traveling pair who walks, it seemed to fit. Whenever I hear the Proclaimers belt out this song in their jaunty, Scottish Irish fashion, I see images of all the places my husband and I have passed by from the simple walk in the neighborhood to the expanse of a spectacular vista.

One of my two most favorite images of the miles we’ve traveled is of my husband winding through the streets of the Old Quarter in Hanoi with our daughter perched on his shoulders high above the crowd when she was three. My other favorite image is of him strolling through the streets of Bangkok swinging our then 3 month-old son in his Graco car seat carrier like our son was a purse.

Yep, he’d walk 500 miles–and 500 more. Honestly, I would too.

Click here for previous Sounds of Travel.

The sounds of travel 11: Liverpool

Magical Mystery Tour busHere at Gadling we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite sounds from the road and giving you a sample of each — maybe you’ll find the same inspiration that we did, but at the very least, hopefully you’ll think that they’re good songs. Got a favorite of your own? Leave it in the comments below and we’ll post it at the end of the series.

If you’re going to England, you really ought to make a stop in Liverpool. There’s a Tate Museum (with a terrific Auerbach I particularly like), Albert Dock, from whence The Titanic departed, and a music scene you’ll never forget.

The Beatles aren’t the only band to come out of Liverpool. Here’s a list of twelve Liverpool bands from the BBC, which even they confess is “by no means an exhaustive list.” Every one has played the famous Cavern Club, which is a great place to visit, even just for a pint in the afternoon.

If you’re into new music, you’re also in luck. Not only does Liverpool continue to encourage new artists through its music-rich history and welcoming clubs, but there’s also a school there called the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, which was started by Sir Paul McCartney in 1996. LIPA is farming out fresh talent to all over Europe and beyond. You can catch the students at their very own Paul McCartney Auditorium or at the local bars and clubs like The Magnet and Bar Hannah.

Beatles tourism in Liverpool is pretty commercialized, but don’t miss The Magical Mystery Tour, which is conducted by childhood friends of The Beatles themselves. They’ll have all kinds of tidbits for you, for example: Did you know that “Norweigan Wood” was originally titled “Knowing She Would,” and they changed it for the censors?

Have a listen above; it’s sure to give you a smile.

Click here for previous Sounds of Travel.

Sounds of Travel 9: Me Gustas Tu?

Here at Gadling we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite sounds from the road and giving you a sample of each — maybe you’ll find the same inspiration that we did, but at the very least, hopefully you’ll think that they’re good songs. Got a favorite of your own? Leave it in the comments below and we’ll post it at the end of the series.

Manu Chao is a vagabond by nature. He was born in Paris to a Spanish mother and father, but he’s really from all over. Chao’s music wanders and meanders like his personal life, drifting languages from Spanish to English to French, and picking up influences and passport stamps from South America to Spain and to France and then back again. His improvised concert tours are equally freewheeling, featuring actors, circus performers and tour stops only accessible by boat (?!).

I stumbled across Chao’s free-form music while I was in college. There was something that sounded very culturally rich about it – it felt authentic and regional, yet somehow equally global and devoid of place. As I began to travel and see more of the world, I found Chao to be a poignant soundtrack for my travels, particularly in the Spanish speaking world where I happened to be visiting.

Whether wafting over the balconies of ancient windows in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, jingling from makeshift speakers in an apartment in Buenos Aires, or bouncing out of a car radio in Mexico City, Manu Chao’s music somehow made a particular sonic sense to me. Perhaps my favorite example is his song, Me Gustas Tu:


Me Gustas Tu is a bastard child of a song. It doesn’t have a lyrical “narrative” like you would expect from a pop tune. Instead it’s composed of a single continued refrain. As a guitarist plucks away a catchy, whimsical melody, Chao regales us with his love for life and for the Spanish speaking world, peeling off a list of countries, neighborhoods and “favorite things,” including the wind, traveling, planes, the morning, dreaming and the sea. Each of these favorites is preceded by the phrase “me gustas,” which basically translates as “I like” or “I love” in Spanish. In this case, Chao seems to be recalling the memory of a lost love, romanticizing what he remembers best.

If there’s one place Me Gustas Tu always evokes for me, it’s Barcelona. Each time I come back to this city on the Mediterranean, I’m drawn to the ancient walls and narrow alleys of the Gothic Quarter, a neighborhood that virtually explodes with life. As I walk the area, I always feel more alive, envigorated by rich, sensory experience. Down each street, the laughter of old men stumbles out of simmering tapas bars, water burbles quietly from forgotten fountains and my eyes gaze up at tiny metal balconies, shrouded in green curtains of plant life.

It’s hard to explain why, but I always feel happy when I’m there. I suspect it’s the sensory assault of the place and feeling of joy and wonder I find in the simplest experiences. Perhaps Chao is on to something then – Me Gustas Tu is a song that’s less about telling you where a vagabond like Chao has been, and more about where he is. That place is in his mind, filled with happy memories and vivid sensory experiences. For me the place is Barcelona, a memory I can conjure from time to time and forget my troubles. Suddenly I’m there, listening to Manu Chao on my balcony. And suddenly, life seems pretty awesome, doesn’t it?

Click here for previous Sounds of Travel